The Orlando Pride remain out of NWSL Challenge Cup even though some of the positive coronavirus tests that prompted their exit subsequently were called into question.
On Monday, the National Women’s Soccer League announced that the Pride withdrew from the upcoming tournament after six players and four staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, though, the Pride said in a statement that a second round of testing “indicated inconsistencies from previous tests. The Club will conduct a third round of testing as soon as possible in order to come to conclusive results for all members of the team, both staff and players. The Club will provide a further update once all necessary testing is completed.”
A Pride spokesperson told ESPN that there were positive results among the second wave of tests. All of the players and staffers who originally tested positive were asymptomatic, the team announced Monday.
According to multiple media outlets, regardless of the results of the third round of testing, the Pride will not be re-entering the field for the NWSL Challenge Cup.
Once Orlando withdrew, league officials revised the tournament’s schedule to reflect an eight-team field instead of a nine-team field.
Numerous media reports blamed the Pride’s alleged COVID-19 outbreak on groups of players going to out to a bar.
The Challenge Cup, scheduled to start Saturday in Utah, will make the NWSL the first U.S. pro team-sports league back in action amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pride were slated to play Saturday against the Chicago Red Stars, July 1 against the Portland Thorns, July 5 against the North Carolina Courage and July 9 vs. Sky Blue FC.
The Challenge Cup preliminaries and quarterfinals are scheduled to be held at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. The semifinals and the July 26 final will be contested at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The opening match, pitting the defending league champion Courage against the Thorns, and the final will be shown live on CBS.
–Field Level Media